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11 November 2016
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From 12 November 2016 small businesses will be protected from unfair contract terms when they are offered a contract on a take it or leave it basis.

A term may be unfair if it:

  1. Allows one party to unilaterally vary key aspects of the contract in an unconstrained manner.
  2. Gives potentially broad and unreasonable powers to the supplier to protect themselves against loss or damage at the expense of the small business, by imposing broad indemnities or excessive limitations of liabilities.
  3. Gives the supplier an unreasonable ability to cancel or end a contract as it suits them.

The law only covers standard form agreements between businesses where:

  • one of the firms employs less than 20 people; and
  • the contract is worth up to $300,000 in a single year or $1 million if the contract runs for more than a year.

If you think a term in your contract is unfair

  • Talk to the contract provider and ask them to amend or remove the term.
  • Contact the Small Business Commissioner (SA) for advice.
  • Contact the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) small business helpline on 1300 302 021 or lodge an online complaint form
  • For unfair terms in relation to financial products and services, contact the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) on their general enquiries helpline on 1300 300 630
  • Talk to a lawyer about your options.

For more information on unfair contract terms visit accc.gov.au/uct